Friday, September 3, 2010

Book Review: A Refugee In Oz

Kim McFarland recently came out with this followup to the Oz novels by L. Frank Baum. It's an original story, but actually features a different version of the Trollans from He-Man And The Master Of The Universe, who most 80s nostalgia fans would know as "Orko's people"(see Kim's Negapage for her love of Trollans). Although, there is no direct reference made to He-Man in it.

The story stars off in the middle of the Deadly Desert with a nomadic tribe called the Madou, who are short blue-skinned people with pointy ears that all wear long white robes. All the Madou can use basic magic, and have the ability to levitate. Their village gets attacked by the Nome army, and the Madou get captured by them, except for one young refugee named Koroko who goes to Oz looking for help to save his people. Koroko goes to the Tin Man as he's the Winkie Emporer, and brings Scarecrow and Dorothy along with him. Koroko flies them over the desert, which would if someone were to touch it would cause them to turn to dust. They spend the night at a small glass oasis Koroko makes with his magic, where he is suprised to learn about Oz ban on sorcery. They finally make it to the underground realm of the Nome Kingdom, and are shocked to discover that Ruggedo has been reinstated as the Nome King. His subordinate Kaliko was left in charge of the Nomes after Ruggedo was exiled in Tik-Tok Of Oz, but Ruggedo staged a coo with nomes still loyal to him. Ruggedo threatens to harm Scarecrow and Tin Man unless Dorothy hands over his old Magic Belt. He destroys Tin Man's heart, and causes Scarecrow to get completely burned. Thanks to a rescue by Billina and her chicken army, they manage to stop Ruggedo, and restore Kaliko to the throne, but leave with the freed Trollans sorrowful over the loss of their friend. The Trollans are given sanctuary in Oz by Ozma. Tin Man returns to his kingdom without any emotions because he believes he no longer has any feelings since his heart is gone, plus he mourns the death of Scarecrow. However, he managed to save a scrap of the Scarecrow's head, that Glinda and the Wizard are able to recreate the Scarecrow from, but minus his given brains. Scarecrow now believes he no longer has a mind, so Scraps tries to shake him and Tin Man out of their funk, despite the fact that they've been reunited. Under the advisement of the Wizard, Dorothy uses the Magic Belt to wish for Scarecrow and Tin Man to be restored their physical state prior to being assaulted by Ruggedo. Scraps is a little skeptical of the Wizard's motives since he let their friends believe got their thoughts or emotions due to the gifts he originally gave them. The Wizard concludes that it is sometimes more important for someone to have faith in something else in order to believe in themselves.

I personally really liked this book. It provided a nice charming adventure for the Oz crew, while at the same time providing a deeper look into the characters, even it is does take a dark turn halfway through the story. McFarland had this printed on her own through Lulu both for download and in paperback. It's designed by Marcus Mebes from the Oz book publishers at Pumpernickle Pickle Press, and features a great cover illustration by Lar DeSouza(of Looking For Group fame). McFarland also did the enchanting interior artwork(check out her Deviantart page!).

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